Leadership for Life – Offering Praise

By on April 16, 2012
Employee Praise and Recognition

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

The good news: By now, most leaders have at least an inkling that offering praise and recognition to employees is a valuable tool to help motivate and engage employees.

The bad news: Some leaders try to praise employees by rote or by formula, and that hardly ever works.

Great leaders know that positive feedback needs to be specific and sincere. Just telling someone that they’re “doing a fine job” is less than optimal. To offer useful feedback, you need to talk about specific behavior and put it in context – where and when it happened, and you need to talk about the specific results of that behavior. And you have to mean it. Offering praise on a schedule is the wrong way to do it.

It’s important to know what to praise people for, as well as how to present recognition effectively. A good resource for learning more about recognition is A Carrot a Day, by Adrian Gostic and Chester Elton. They also have an e-mail newsletter that you can subscribe to at http://carrots.com/. In a recent tip, they offer a list of criteria for why we praise employees:

  • What do our clients value?
  • What does the company value?
  • What do our employees value?
  • What is our basic purpose?
  • What is our competitive situation?
  • What will make us more productive, more valuable to our company, more efficient in the purpose of our vision?

When an employee does something that helps advance the purpose and values of the organization, s/he should be given the recognition s/he deserves. And, as always, recognition should be offered publicly and in a timely manner.

Offering recognition when it’s well-deserved advances the goals of the organization, raises the level of employee engagement, and improves morale and productivity.

As always, we are active seekers of recognition and feedback of any stripe: Comment below or send e-mail to bschapiro@stlcc.edu.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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